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EU announces aid to pork industry hit by Russian ban

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EU announces aid to pork industry hit by Russian ban

Photo © Tadija Savic - Fotolia

(PARIS) - European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan on Sunday announced measures to raise pork prices to help the industry hit by a Russian embargo.

The European Union will provide financial aid to stockpile pork products withdrawn from the market in a bid to increase prices affected by the ban in place since January 2014.

This measure should "remove a considerable amount of products from the market, stabilising the financial situation of farmers" and "boost the fragile recovery in prices," said Hogan after he met pork farmers at Paris' agriculture fair.

France and other European countries had requested the measure, which is expected to be confirmed after a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday.

Russia slapped a ban last year on all pork imports from the EU after cases of African swine fever (ASF) were detected in wild boar in Lithuania.

The EU appealed to the World Trade Organization over the embargo.

In 2013, the 28-nation bloc raked in around 1.4 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in pork sales to Russia.

In August, the EU had agreed to pay for the storage of milk powder and certain cheeses after a Russian embargo in retaliation to US and European sanctions over Ukraine hit the European dairy sector.

The aid to cheese producers was later halted after dubious compensation claims.

Hogan also announced that Brussels has accepted France's request to allow corn producers to benefit from European aid linked to green farming methods.

Corn growers are now eligible for aid if they cover their fields in winter instead of Brussels preferred practice of rotating crops.

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